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Students' perceptions of the effects of term-time paid employment

Curtis, Susan (2007) Students' perceptions of the effects of term-time paid employment. Education and training, 49 (5). pp. 380-390. ISSN 0040-0912

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Abstract

Purpose – Owing to increasing debts and lack of parental contribution to undergraduates' income, UK students are taking paid employment during term time in order to finance their studies. The aim of this investigation is to explore employed and non-employed students' perceptions of the impact of this paid employment on the university experience. Design/methodology/approach – In total, 336 undergraduates completed questionnaires about their employment, their perceptions of the effects on academic study, factors affecting the decision to work and factors which may reduce the amount of time spent studying. Findings – Results indicated that almost 59 per cent of students were employed during term time for an average of 15 hours per week. More students perceived that there were benefits to working than perceived disadvantages, but there were some contradictions concerning the adverse effects of working. Research limitation/implications – The findings were limited by the location of the sample, as they were from a rural faculty of a large university and are therefore not typical of most UK student populations which are generally in urban locations. Practical implications – There is no simple solution to the problem of employed students experiencing adverse effects on their academic studies due to working. The government and other stakeholders need to take responsibility for the current situation. Originality/value – This study adds to the growing body of international data that reports on the effects of user-pays approach in higher education. No other study has considered the perceptions of non-employed students alongside the employed.

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